March 19, 2015

I've spoken to them all. From those who don't want to spend a penny on social media marketing to those who just want to throw money at it. Of course, there are many who get it, but there are more who don't. The cost of social media marketing is about more than  just the dollars you throw (or neglect to throw) at it. It's about the investment.

Yes, investment.

I use this word specifically. Because social media marketing is an investment. Your return on your investment may take months or years. It may be one big sale or many small sales. It may be immediately recognizable or something you didn't even realize was a direct result.

I would love if I could just leave this at a hundred word blog post and leave it at this. But, we all know that's not gonna happen! So let's dive into more about what I mean by an investment.

Social media is not free.

Yes, you can set up a social media profile on pretty much any major social media site and not spend "any money" on it. You can use the free profiles and just post content at the ready.

But, like anything else in life, you get what you put into it. Now to be clear, I do not spend money on ads for any of my social media pages associated with Jenn's Trends. I do this for a variety of reasons which I won't dive into here. So, no, I don't spend money on my social media efforts. But man, oh man, do I invest my time. And my time ain't that cheap! 😉 And I invest my skills, talents, and efforts into my social media content. I create my own graphics, my own written content, my own photos, my own comments and ideas.

Doing this takes away time from my family, my personal time, sleep (on occasion), and other things I could be doing in my business. So, yes, I can assure you I invest in my social media activities, even if I'm not directly spending my hard earned dollars on it.

But I do value this commitment as an investment. I know that those posts, images, content, blog posts, comments, engagement, and socialization are building my brand, my reputation, my experience, my value, and my credibility.

I get customers daily and weekly, new and returning, because they saw a post on social media. Or because they value my long-standing commitment to them as fan that when they need something, they turn to me for help or answers. This is my ROI.

It's not about the number of dollars I threw at the plan or how much I spent this week.

Which brings me to other end of the spectrum. You can't just throw money at social media and expect it to work.

Sure, you can buy hundreds of dollars in social media ads. You can hire high-paid photographers to take your photos. You can hire writers and social media managers to write your content and status updates. But if you're not personally invested the in the value being presented by your social media accounts, you may as well be throwing money away.

[Before I piss off a bunch of my friends and amazing readers, I am not saying all social media managers are bad investments. In fact, a good, reputable social media agency or management team (ask me if you want to find one) can be one of the best investments you'll ever make. But many of the scammers out there will take your money and give you crap for management services.]

I can always tell the people who just throw money at their social media efforts. There's no personal connection. The posts are so heavily marketing-centric that no one even responds to them. They post more and more trying to get (any) results. They have so many ads on their sites that it reads like a bad infomercial.

And, shocking! Nothing seems to be working for them...

In all reality, yes, you should spend money on your social media efforts. Your time is money. The time (and salary) of your team managing your social media efforts is money. Ads cost money. Good content can cost money.

Some people spends thousands of dollars on social media ads. But they bring in tens of thousands of dollars in revenue from highly targeted clients. That's an investment.

Some people spend more time after work hours responding to social media comments than they spend sleeping. But they have built a brand and reputation that crushes their competition. That's an investment (but always make sure to strive for a balance of personal time!).

Some people spend hundreds of dollars a month on (good) social media management services. But that leaves them the time to focus on other parts of the business that they're good at and bring in more revenue. That's an investment.

If you aren't spending that money with the right intentions. If you aren't "investing" that money into the long-term commitment of social media marketing. If you are ignoring the value of social media as an investment in your business and brand, then you're counting the wrong dollars.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. I love your focus on “investment” & on understanding that time is money! I go in with the belief that anything I spend my time and/or money on is done for the sake of bettering my business. This is certainly a huge investment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Jenn!

    1. Thank you Kim! And I know you look at social as an investment as well. It’s not a cheap investment when we commit our time but it really is valuable 🙂

  2. Jenn, thank you for making sense of ROI on social media marketing. This is the first piece I have read, and I’ve read more than I really wanted to, that hits it out of the ballpark. I needed to read this today! I too, have a very personal, hands on approach, to handling my Customer accounts. They have invested in me, as their content manager, to be their voice and be an extension of their biz. My mantra, “Let me do what I do best, so that you can do what you do better”, truly fits with how I handle accounts. Thanks again!

    1. Thank you Michael! I’m so glad you found this so valuable. It’s not always “easy” to do it this way, but it really is the (only and) best way to do it!
      And I love that mantra! It’s so true!

  3. Thank you so much for the posts, Jenn. They are very useful to me. I want to launch my blog soon. I have been working on advance for two months now and I know it’s going to be very difficult to find support, but as you say, if I really like what I do and invest my time in it, some people might like it too.
    All the best! Congrats

    1. Thank you Gabriela! I’m so glad you enjoy my posts.
      Congrats on the upcoming blog launch. That is so exciting 🙂 Do what makes you happy. The right audience will find you!

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